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Tighter immigration rules are ‘potentially devastating for NHS’, says BMA

Responding to the release of the Government’s Immigration White Paper1, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said:

“Freedom of movement has allowed the thousands of staff from Europe – from doctors, nurses and care workers to hospital porters and cleaners – to come to the UK and provide valuable service in our NHS, and today’s plans to restrict immigration could be potentially devastating to patient care and the wider health and social care sector.

“Any arbitrary salary threshold will affect vast swathes of the NHS workforce coming from overseas, and while the earlier floated figure of £30,000 a year may be reconsidered, anything close to this would have a huge knock-on effect for the health service. Doctors depend on a range of staff to support them to carry out their work and a salary threshold would prevent overseas workers from filling these vital roles.

“The BMA lobbied hard to have doctors removed from the Tier-2 visa cap earlier this year, and we’re glad that the Government has finally abolished the limit altogether. However, it’s incredibly disappointing that this victory for common sense has not been reflected elsewhere in this paper.

“Furthermore, these proposals will be phased in from 2021, and with a no-deal Brexit looking more likely by the day, they do nothing to outline what an immigration system for EU doctors will look like if Britain crashes out with no agreement in 100 days’ time.”


Notes to editors

 The BMA is a trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.

  1. The full paper is available here.

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